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The famous people who have died so far in 2020 – Wales Online

It is the start of the second month of 2020 but so far this year we have already lost some huge names from the worlds of sport, television, and music.

Perhaps the most shocking was the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his teenage daughter Gianna in a Los Angeles helicopter crash that killed nine people in total.

Last year saw the deaths of stars including It Ain’t Half Hot Mum actor Windsor Davies in January, the shocking death of The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint, the sad loss of stalwart Newport MP Paul Flynn, and the sudden passing of television chef Gary Rhodes in November.

We have taken a look back at the the stars we have lost this year already and the lasting memories they have left behind.


Derek Acorah

The self-styled spiritual medium, whose real name was Derek Johnson, died right at the beginning of the year aged 69.

It was revealed he had been treated in intensive care following a “brief illness”.

Born in Bootle, Liverpool, in January 1950, he shot to fame on Most Haunted, which ran from 2002 to 2010 and returned in an online edition and on Really TV at various times until 2019. He also went on to present Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns.

Christopher Beeny

The star of Upstairs Downstairs and Last Of The Summer Wine died at the age of 78.

He was best known for playing butler Edward Barnes in TV series Upstairs Downstairs.

The popular series, which aired in the 1970s and was a ratings hit for ITV, told the story of Lord and Lady Bellamy and their upper-crust household at 165 Eaton Place in Belgravia.

He also appeared in In Loving Memory as Billy Henshaw opposite Dame Thora Hird and as Lenny Grove in The Grove Family. He was also a regular guest star on Last Of The Summer Wine until 2009 when he joined the cast.

His screen debut was in The Long Memory in 1953, also opposite Dame Thora, after he trained at the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art.

He went on to make regular appearance in the theatre including in Stop The World – I Want To Get Off, Oliver!, and Boeing Boeing and he toured the play There’s No Place Like A Home with ‘Allo ‘Allo’s Gorden Kaye.

Neil Peart

The rock world paid tribute to Rush drummer Neil Peart when he died aged 67 of brain cancer.

Widely considered one of the greatest rock and roll drummers ever, the Canadian musician played with the band for more than 40 years.

Rush was formed in 1968 and is known for hits including The Spirit Of Radio and Tom Sawyer. The power trio also included bassist and singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson.

Derek Fowlds

The Heartbeat and Yes Minister actor died at the age of 82.

The actor was best known for playing Private Secretary Bernard Woolley in the sitcom Yes Minister and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister, as well as for his role as Oscar Blaketon in the long-running police drama Heartbeat.

Before that he found fame with children as Mr Derek on The Basil Brush Show, alongside the glove puppet fox with the catchphrase “boom boom!”, from 1969 to 1973, replacing Rodney Bewes as the presenter.

Terry Jones

The Welsh actor and Monty Python star Terry Jones passed away aged 77.

His family said he died at his home in London after battling a rare form of dementia.

In a statement the actor’s family said: “His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programmes, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath.”

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna

The basketball legend and his 13-year-old daughter died in a helicopter crash that killed nine people in total.

The five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist was 41.

Thousands gathered in Los Angeles, where Bryant spent his entire glittering 20-year NBA career, to pay tribute with a vigil outside the Staples Center, home of the shooting guard’s LA Lakers team.

A shrine to Bryant – who became an Oscar winner in 2018 for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball, which he wrote and narrated – was set up outside the stadium complete with candles, flowers, and photographs from fans.

Nicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons

Just a Minute host Nicholas Parsons died aged 96 after a short illness.

He  was best known for the show, where panellists have to speak for one minute without hesitation, deviation, or repetition. He first fronted the show on its inception in 1967.

The broadcaster missed a recording of the BBC Radio 4 show for only the second time in more than 50 years last summer due to a bad back.

BBC director general Tony Hall said: “Very few people have done so much to entertain audiences over the decades and no-one deserves to be called a broadcasting legend more than Nicholas Parsons.

“His charm, inventive intellect, and ability to create laughs were unsurpassed. Our thoughts are with his family and all who knew him.”


Kirk Douglas


Kirk Douglas died at the age of 103.

The venerated star, patriarch of an acting dynasty was one of the few remaining survivors of Hollywood’s golden age, was best known for films including Spartacus, Ace In The Hole and Champion.

His eldest son, Michael Douglas, a two-time Oscar-winner, announced his father’s death with a touching tribute.

“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” the 75-year-old said in a statement.

“To the world he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.

“But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband.”


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